Balancing traditional and modern architectural influences

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How hard is it to do old-meets-new design properly? Well, It turns out it’s actually really hard, and countless failed, near-failed and just plain ugly architectural projects are testament to that. There are many different pieces of advice you could follow in an attempt to get this look right, but the simplest way to work it out, as with most things, is to look at a successful example and break down exactly what it is that makes it so successful.

Well, fortunately – extremely fortunately, in fact, because without it this ideabook wouldn’t exist – the architects at Dutch firm Reitsema &Partners have been obliging enough to create a stunning house that is a textbook example of how to blend two eras of design in a functional, innovative and drop-dead gorgeous manner. We’re sure they came up with this project just for us.

So, without further ado, let’s take a spin around this home, and take note of the very valuable lessons it has to offer us.

​Use light as a design feature

As a general rule, the more natural light you can manage to let into an interior space, the more airy, bright and therefore modern that space will feel. This is a commonly accepted piece of advice, although less widely noted is the fact that allowing large quantities of artificial light to escape from the inside of your home to its surroundings will also up its contemporary credentials.

Basically, using lots of glass and making a feature of oversized windows is a fairly clear indicator that you’re keen to do something current with your home. In the case of this house, that logic has clearly been followed to an extreme – but the results are strikingly understated in their own way rather than being OTT.

The bold contrast between the hyper-modern gable end and the traditionally craftsmanship of the thatched roof should be jarring ,but it isn’t; perhaps because the supporting beams that criss-cross the glass hark back to the exposed roof beams of old-fashioned cottages (and indeed, the interior does contain many such beams).

​Consider day and night

Your house will take on very different aspects during the day and the night, and it’s easy for a glass-heavy building to look brashly bright and vulgar when illuminated against a dark sky. Here, however, the thoroughly traditional silhouette of the house mitigates any such potential effects.

​Keep it clean

As far as the interior goes, it’s best not to over-complicate things, but that doesn’t mean going fully minimalist, either. A simple decorative scheme like this one will allow the most interesting architectural features of your old-meets-new home (in this case, those ceiling beams) to shine.

​Embrace classic shapes

Although this house is clearly modern in the way it has been made, its use of a vaulted roof is a comforting throwback to the past that anchors the interior in time and tradition.

What are your thoughts on this project? Pros and cons? Tell us here!
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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